Should the government raise the national minimum wage? Learn more?
In March 2015 the UK government announced that the minimum wage would be raised 3% to £6.70 an hour. The increase was supported by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg. Opponents say that the increase is too small. They argue that too many workers are living in poverty and the national wage should be raised to a “living wage” of £10 per hour. See public opinion
Should the government prosecute people who avoid paying taxes by hiding money in foreign bank accounts? Learn more?
A former employee of HSBC recently leaked data that revealed 106,000 of the bank’s clients in Switzerland held secret accounts with the bank for the sole purpose of avoiding taxes. The leak revealed that the clients came from over 200 countries and were hiding over $118 billion dollars in the accounts. The data also revealed that HM Revenue and Customs failed to prosecute citizens who they knew were liable for unpaid taxes. Proponents of prosecution believe the government should take a more active role in monitoring people’s taxes and those caught evading taxes should be subject to stiff fines or jail time. Opponents believe that the people who evaded taxes were not breaking any laws since their funds were stored in Swiss bank accounts. See public opinion
Should the government make cuts to public spending in order to reduce the national debt? Learn more?
In 2014, total government spending fell to 35% of GDP, down from 45% in 2009-10. Economists predict that the British government will have to continue to cut spending if it would like to balance its budget by 2020. The Independent Institute for Fiscal Studies said the government would have to raise taxes by £21billion or cut welfare spending which will rise to 1/3rd of all spending by 2020. See public opinion
Should the U.K. raise taxes on the rich? Learn more?
Australia currently has a progressive tax system whereby high income earners pay a higher percentage of tax than low income tax. A more progressive income tax system has been proposed as a tool towards reducing wealth inequality. See public opinion
Should there be fewer or more restrictions on current welfare benefits? Learn more?
In 2011 the level of public spending on the welfare state by the British Government accounted for £113.1 billion, or 16% of government. By 2020 welfare spending will rise to 1/3rd of all spending making it the largest expense followed by housing benefit, council tax benefit, benefits to the unemployed, and benefits to people with low incomes. See public opinion
Should 18-21 year olds take on unpaid community work in order to claim benefits? Learn more?
During the March 26, 2015 debate David Cameron proposed a series of welfare cuts that included preventing young people from going directly on to housing and unemployment benefit directly after school. The plan would require all 18 to 21-year-olds who claim unemployment to do 30 hours of community service per week work experience while searching for a job. Proponents argue that too many young people are receiving government benefits after school. Opponents argue that cutting benefits will punish young people who need time to look for a job right out of school. See public opinion
Should child benefits be restricted to a maximum of two children? Learn more?
Currently, there is no cap on child benefit. £20.50 per week is paid for the first child and £13.55 per week is paid for each additional child. More than 80% of children are in families also eligible for means-tested child tax credit. See public opinion
Should the top tax rate of income over £150,000 be raised to 50 percent?
Should bankers’ bonuses be capped at 100% of their pay? Learn more?
n 2014 the EU passed legislation that capped bankers’ bonuses at 100% of their pay or 200% with shareholder approval. Proponents of the cap say that it will reduce incentives for bankers to take excessive risk similar to what led to the 2008 financial crisis. Opponents say that any cap on banker’s pay will push up non-bonus pay and cause bank’s costs to rise. See public opinion
Should the government abolish the inheritance tax? Learn more?
The inheritance tax is a tax on money and possessions you pass on when you die. A certain amount can be passed on tax-free, which is called the "tax-free allowance" or "nil rate band". The current tax-free allowance is £325,000 which has not changed since 2011 and is fixed at that rate until at least 2017. The inheritance tax is an emotionally charged issue as it comes up during a time of loss and mourning. See public opinion
Should the U.K. pursue free trade deals with other countries?
Should welfare recipients be tested for drugs? Learn more?
5 U.S. states have passed laws requiring welfare recipients to be tested for drugs. The UK does not currently test welfare recipients for drugs. Proponents argue that testing will prevent public funds from being used to subsidize drugs habits and help get treatment for those that are addicted to drugs. Opponents argue that it is a waste of money since the tests will cost more money than they save. See public opinion
Should homeowners pay higher taxes on "mansions" valued over £2m? Learn more?
Currently, the UK does not tax residential property on an annual basis. The "Mansion Tax" is a proposed annual property tax on homes valued at or over £2 million that would increase tax revenue to allow for a decrease in tax rate for low earners. Proposals estimate that properties valued between £2m and £3m would pay £3,000 per annum, but properties over £3m would pay considerably more. Commentators have suggested that in order to raise the projected £1.2bn, the Mansion Tax payable on homes over £3m would have to be £28,000. See public opinion
Should the U.K. raise or lower the tax rate for corporations? Learn more?
The United Kingdom treats a corporation as a tax resident if it is organised as a UK corporation or is controlled and managed in the United Kingdom. The U.K. recently abandoned its worldwide system for a territorial system and reduced its corporate tax rate to 21 percent. The U.S. currently taxes corporations at 39%, France at 33% and Germany at 45%. See public opinion
Should tenants receive less benefits if they live in a housing association or council property with more bedrooms than occupants? Learn more?
The Bedroom Tax (also known as Spare Room Subsidy) is a change to Housing Benefit Entitlement that restricts housing benefits for tenants of working age (16-61) living in a housing association or council property that is deemed to have one or more spare bedrooms. Tenants with one spare bedroom lose 14% of entitled housing benefit and those with two or more spare bedrooms lose 25% of entitlement. Possible exemptions exist for tenants receiving a state pension, rent a shared ownership property, have a severely disabled child who requires their own room, have a foster child, or have a child how is on duty in the armed forces. See public opinion
Should the government provide tax incentives to private companies to keep jobs within the country?
Should citizens be allowed to save or invest their money in offshore bank accounts? Learn more?
An offshore (or foreign) bank account is a bank account you have outside of your country of residence. The benefits of an offshore bank account include tax reduction, privacy, currency diversification, asset protection from lawsuits, and reducing your political risk. In April 2016, Wikileaks released 11.5 million confidential documents, known as the Panama Papers, which provided detailed information on 214,000 offshore companies serviced by the Panamanian Law Firm, Mossack Fonesca. The document exposed how world leaders and wealthy individuals hide money in secret offshore tax shelters. The release of the documents renewed proposals for laws banning the use of offshore accounts and tax havens. Proponents of the of the ban argue they should be outlawed because they have a long history of being vehicles for tax evasion, money laundering, illicit arms dealing and funding terrorism. Opponents of the ban argue that punitive regulations will make it harder for American companies to compete and will further discourage businesses from locating and investing in the United States. See public opinion
Should pension payments be increased for retired government workers? Learn more?
A government pension is a fund into which a sum of money is added during the period in which a person is employed by the government. When the government employee retires they are able to receive periodic payments from the fund in order to support themselves. As the birth rate continues to fall and the life expectancy rises governments worldwide are predicting funding shortfalls for pensioners. Men over the age of 65 and women over 60 are eligible for government pensions. By 2046 the retirement age for both men and women will rise to 68. See public opinion
Should the government use economic stimulus to aid the country during times of recession? Learn more?
An economic stimulus is a monetary or fiscal policy enacted by governments with the intent of stabilizing their economies during a fiscal crisis. The policies include an increase in government spending on infrastructure, tax cuts and lowering interest rates. After the Brexit vote in 2016 the Bank of England proposed a stimulus package designed to boost the economy and prevent a recession. The package included purchasing corporate debt and low rate commercial bank loans. See public opinion
Do you believe labor unions help or hurt the economy? Learn more?
Union membership in the UK began declining steeply in the 1980s and 1990s, falling from 13 million in 1979 to around 7.3 million in 2000. In September 2012 union membership dropped below 6 million for the first time since the 1940s See public opinion
Should mortgage lenders be allowed to provide buy-to-let mortgage loans? Learn more?
A buy to let mortgage is a loan arrangement in which a landlord or investor borrows money to purchase property in the private rented sector in order to let out to tenants. The interest rates and fees are slightly higher than those of owner-occupied mortgages. See public opinion
Do you support the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)? Learn more?
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, with the aim of promoting trade and multilateral economic growth. The agreement is opposed by unions, charities, NGOs, and environmentalists in Europe who criticise the agreement for reducing regulations on food safety and environmental legislation. See public opinion
Should the government abolish the non-domicile rule which allows residents to limit the tax paid on earnings outside the UK? Learn more?
The non-domicile rule was established by William Pitt the Younger in the late 18th century and allowed many of Britain’s richest permanent residents to avoid paying tax in the UK on their worldwide income. Non-domiciles pay UK income tax and capital gains tax on their UK sources of income and gains, and whatever income generated overseas they choose to remit to the UK. By contrast, UK domiciles have to pay tax on all of their income and gains, wherever in the world they are made – Britain or overseas. Proponents of overturning the rule argue that it has been wide open to abuse and offends the moral basis of taxation. Opponents argue that ending the rule will discourage foreign investment and that some non-doms pay as much as £132,000 per year in taxes. See public opinion
Do you support a universal basic income program? Learn more?
A Universal Basic Income program is social security program where all citizens of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money from the government. The funding for Universal Basic Income comes from taxation and government owned entities including income from endowments, real estate and natural resources. Several countries, including Finland, India and Brazil, have experimented with a UBI system but have not implemented a permanent program. The longest running UBI system in the world is the Alaska Permanent Fund in the U.S. state of Alaska. In the Alaska Permanent Fund each individual and family receives a monthly sum that is funded by dividends from the state’s oil revenues. Proponents of UBI argue that it will reduce or eliminate poverty by providing everyone with a basic income to cover housing and food. Opponents argue that a UBI would be detrimental to economies by encouraging people to either work less or drop out of the workforce entirely. See public opinion
Should the government classify Bitcoin as a legal currency? Learn more?
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet, which is like a virtual bank account that allows users to send or receive bitcoins and pay for goods or services. Bitcoin is anonymous, meaning that, while transactions are recorded in a public log, the names of buyers and sellers are never revealed. See public opinion